day 9: response to temptation - pt. 2 - STOP

I ran a marathon in 2019. I trained for almost a solid year. I had run for years prior to this but the amount of mileage I had to get in every week required a level of dedication I hadn’t previously known. I took time off from work just to run. I got up at 4am to go get X miles in before the rest of the house woke up.

I thought this level of discipline would bring about an internal change, and for some it may. For me it did not though. I never wanted to get out of bed that early. I never wanted to run that many miles . . . in the winter no less!

About a month into training, as I laid there one morning, I realized I was always happy I got out of bed when I was done with my run.

So, I decided from then on to make the decision to get out of bed based not on how I was feeling then, but how I’d feel once the task was completed. I forced myself to look at the bigger picture and decide based on that. I had to look at the context. I had to contextualize the temptation to stay in bed.

Satan first tempts Jesus in Matthew 4:3, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” That was certainly something in Jesus’s power and would meet an immediate need He had (v 2). Jesus responded by contextualizing the temptation. While hunger was a real & immediate need, the bigger picture was that such was only temporary. Jesus responds by quoting Scripture, Deuteronomy 8:3, and contextualizes His current situation.

Jesus uses a similar approach a few verses later when Satan tempts Him with “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory” if He would bow down and worship him. Again, Jesus zoomed out to contextualize the temptation. Worship, while a seemingly momentary thing in exchange for ‘the kingdoms of the world’, is reserved for God alone. Instead of focusing only on that given moment, Jesus moved the conversation to consider the bigger picture of what His purpose was.

It's still not easy for me to get out of bed to go run. But the internal conversation I had with myself became shorter and shorter, to the point that it eventually was non-existent.

Not everyday . . . but MOST.

The beauty of this type of approach is that it builds momentum. The more you practice it, the easier it becomes.


The more we can stay tuned into that, the more likely we can get where we want on this journey.

Thoughts to Journal:

  •          How can you cause yourself to pause in a moment of temptation, and look at the bigger picture of things?
  •          What Scriptures regarding pornography & lust, will help you contextualize temptations?
  •          Look back at your long-term goals you wrote on day 1. Where do you need to post those (mentally or physically) to contextualize temptations?


Matthew 4:1-11

Deuteronomy 6:13

Deuteronomy 8:3